Nevada governor recall backers lose bid for deadline waiver

LAS VEGAS — A recall drive against Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak appeared doomed Monday, after a federal judge in Las Vegas declined to waive the deadline for a signature-gathering campaign aimed at qualifying a removal measure for the ballot.

Fight for Nevada, the group seeking the ballot measure, formed in 2019 and began collecting signatures in February. It blames the Democratic governor for gun control legislation, restrictions on the transfer of private property, limits on private water wells and other issues.

County election officials are tallying names submitted by the group to see if there are enough to qualify for the November ballot, state election official Wayne Thorley said. The count is set to end Wednesday.

The group needs nearly 244,000 valid signatures of registered voters, but reported it had gathered fewer than 16,000 when the governor enacted stay-at-home orders and business closures in mid-March.

U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware on Friday rejected a request for an indefinite extension of the 90-day signature-gathering period. Nothing prevents the group from beginning the process anew, the judge added.

Robert Barnes, an attorney for Fight for Nevada, vowed the recall drive is not finished.

"The court's order allows for a new recall effort, and if that effort is prevented by restraints on petitions, then we will have strong grounds for suit," Barnes said.

The court filing for the deadline extension blamed Sisolak for thwarting signature-gathering by closing businesses and issuing the stay-at-home orders involving the coronavirus.

The group also alleges Sisolak favors a state income tax, but he told state lawmakers during his State of the State message in January that his $8.8 billion two-year budget includes no new taxes.


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